Up-to-the-minute accident, construction, and weather information on metro Toledo’s freeway network is now a screen-touch, as well as a mouse click, away on the Ohio Department of Transportation’s revamped and rebranded traffic Web site.
While most of the information available on the ohgo.com site was also present on its previous Buckeye Traffic site, ohgo.com is easier to use and designed for use on mobile devices with which the old site was incompatible.
Buckeye Traffic “had outgrown its usefulness” and wasn’t getting much use, said Steve Faulkner, an ODOT spokesman in Columbus. OhGo “is much more user-friendly,” particularly in regard to its mobile capability, he said, while cautioning that motorists should not try to use the site — or any other Web site — while driving.
For drivers, the transportation department is proceeding with plans to place message boards at 11 key locations along Toledo’s freeways.
Theresa Pollick, a spokesman at ODOT’s district office in Bowling Green, said concrete footings for several of the message boards are being built this week. On Wednesday, crews erected the post and bracket for one on southbound I-75 at the Stickney/Lagrange interchange.
Mount Pleasant, Mich.’s J. Ranck Electric’s $5.69 million ODOT contract, for which work began last summer and completion is scheduled by year’s end, includes more than 70 cameras and connective cabling. Managed from an ODOT control center in Columbus, the signs will offer accident and congestion alerts or, when no alerts are in effect, provide estimated travel times to key interchanges.
In some cases, the new cameras will replace existing traffic-surveillance cameras around metro Toledo’s freeway system, Ms. Pollick said. The existing cameras are older equipment that has become expensive to maintain, she said.
But for now, those cameras will provide streaming pictures for OhGo visitors.
The opening screen for each of Ohio’s major metro areas features a map overlaid with color coding indicating highway traffic speed: Green for 50 mph or faster, yellow for 25 to 49 mph, and red for 25 mph or slower.
The data are based on both in-pavement sensors and roadside radars that detect traffic speed, but do not identify individual vehicles, according to ODOT.
Web site users may choose, from a menu bar, to look at construction updates, check winter driving conditions (available November through April), get estimated travel times, or view live feeds from the traffic cameras.
“The price we pay for sitting in traffic is significant,” ODOT Director Jerry Wray said during a news conference in Columbus. “It’s time away from our families and money spent on wasted fuel. Ohgo.com will allow motorists to log on, look for traffic tie-ups, and pick the best route, saving both time and money.”
Added Mr. Faulkner: “We’re in the business of providing service ... and this will help keep more people out of traffic jams.”
The OhGo upgrade cost ODOT $260,000, which the spokesman said was a mix of in-house expense and work done by CareWorks, a consultant.
For now, OhGo lacks speed information from the I-475 reconstruction zone in West Toledo, but Ms. Pollick said that will be resolved when that project is finished. Substantial completion is expected by year’s end.
Mr. Faulkner, meanwhile, said the new Web site is designed for future enhancements that will feature a way for users to map their regular commuting routes into the system, which would then send them email or text alerts whenever trouble arises.
Contact David Patch at: email@example.com, or 419-724-6094.